Showing posts with label Tactical Tailor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tactical Tailor. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ham Radio, Gardening Plans and my Updated Get Home bag

I'm starting to learn about Ham Radio. On the plus side the test seems to actually have some useful stuff in it instead of just lines of federal code so that is good. It helps that some of it is interesting and I think a decent bit is educational.  Don't have a ton of time to study but I do have a few brief moments during the day and some time at night. Hopefully I'll be ready in a month or so to take the test.

We are starting to talk about gardening plans for the spring. Looking at bringing in some dirt and doing a slightly raised bed in one place and some pots. This year it will be a lot better planned than last (as I didn't think a garden would be possible till well past the ideal start time) and try to do 3 or so iterations of the same stuff to have a better staggered garden. Well that is the plan anyway.

I have also been working on making my new Tactical Tailor Removable Operator Bag into a leaner, meaner version of my level 2.5/ get home bag. Almost got it set up how I want. Right now the bag is about 17 pounds (dry) with a 1 qt water bottle and a hydration bladder. It is just a little bit too much bulk for the bag to comfortably handle. Generally it is slightly above my overall goal to move fast and have enough stuff to not die. I either need to ditch the Hill People Gear Serape, trim a fair bit of weight elsewhere or figure out a better way to load it all up. The hard part is that I've really made all the easy cuts. Part of the issue could be that a sub 20 pound day pack setup with a couple days worth of food and a solid setup of survival stuff is a pretty tall order. Add in the capacity to survive a 25 degree night, without significant shelter making and or a roaring fire andI'm not honestly certain it is possible. Might need to stick with the bigger day pack or even a small framed one during the winter and use the smaller one in the summer. Will play with it some more then let you know what cracks out.

Anyway those are some of the things I have been up to. What have you been up to?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tactical Tailor Removable Operator Pack For The Win!!!

While on a buying/ selling site yesterday I saw a Tactical Tailor Removable Operator Pack in multicam. The guy was asking $50. I shot him a note asking if he would take $40. He said OK. We met up after work (he was another military guy). The bag is used but not at all abused. The fabric is ever so slightly faded and there is the odd frayed thread but it is totally functional. Certainly a trade off I will take to get a $115 bag for $40!

Honestly I wasn't in the market for a bag at all. The price was just too good to pass up. I love my over decade old TT bag. That thing is hell for stout and baring theft, fire or some sort of loss I expect at least another decade of use out of it.There are so many things one could do with a bag like this I couldn't see a reason not to purchase it. Also at that price even if it sat around for a year till I had a purpose for it the deal would still be good.

I do not see it sitting idle for long. Am going to take a hard look at the feasibility of cutting down my level 2.5 bag and making it work with this bag. I would use it as a more traditional assault pack in my level 2.5 load as it is really set up for the 'hook to the outside' setup but even though it is small these bags are sturdy enough it is surprisingly heavy. However for that setup I almost think a decent quality but very basic and crushable small backpack might be a better answer.

Anyway the role for this bag will become apparent in due time. Also since it is on hand I will eventually do a review of this bag.

Did you get any great deals lately?

Monday, June 16, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I bought ten gallons of gas to fill up my last two empty fuel cans. Received a tactical tailor Glock 9mm/ .40 drop holster. It will give me the option of an overtly tactical holster for a Glock 9mm without a light which is something I was missing.

Also it will give me the option of switching to a lighter setup based on a duty belt that is compatible with a modern backpack which is a nice option to have. Granted it means I totally need a chest rig as part of the setup but it gives some good options. My gut says that if occasionally carrying a ruck combined with a lot of local patrolling was the order of the day I would use the battle belt and an ALICE pack. On the other hand if I needed something vehicle friendly or knew I would be rucking a whole lot it would be a lighter rig and a modern, much more comfortable ruck.

On my current lifting program it was max week. Here is where I ended up:
Military Press (standing, strict)- 135x1
Dead Lift- Did not beat my 2 month ago max of 360x1 though I am stronger now. It was a long day.
Bench Press- 265x1 honestly a whole lot better than I expected.
Squat-225x4. This is pretty wimpy though in my defense I have been focusing more on a strict 'ass to the grass' squat than weight. Still the squat has not been getting the attention it deserves and I need to do better.

(Edited to include: I did squats today (6-17) and went 245x3 to a good depth with solid form. That is probably a more realistic assessment of my current max.) 

Am at a steady state with the garden and chickens. The plants are growing like crazy and the (4) hens are averaging 3.5-4 eggs a day so that is good.

Probably did something else but I cannot remember what it was.

Next week I plan to purchase some spare parts for a rifle, hopefully get some mags, sign up for a class, plant some seedlings and PWN the gym.

What Do You Do To Prepare This Week?

Friday, August 24, 2012

EDC and Get Home Bag Thoughts

I have been walking around a lot lately. Aside from some low impact/ intensity gentle cardio this time is good for thinking. It is pretty easy to let my thoughts wander while walking down a strait sidewalk. All this time I have been carrying my EDC Tactical Tailor bag. It isn't really EDC like the knife and lighter that live in my pockets. It is EDC like when I need a backpack it is the backpack I grab.

[On a tangent I just don't have enough good things to say about that bag or the company in general. They do not seem to make the exact bag I have anymore though it seems to have been slightly updated as their modular operator pack. Also this is a darn good lesson along the "buy nice, once" school of thought. My bag cost $110 approximately 8 years ago (the comparable bag now sells for $200ish, another lesson maybe). I remember because it was a huge sum of money to me back then. That being said 8 years later I am still using it happily. Theft, loss or massive damage via fire or shrapnel damage aside I think getting about 10 more years out of it is likely. I have never had an issue with the zippers despite literally shoving the contents down with my foot and forcing them closed a few times. The straps have never had issues despite carrying far more weight than is reasonable for such a bag. Aside from a few dirt stains I am too lazy to scrub out, slight smoothing out of the little fibers on some straps and some scratches on the buckles it looks just like it did years ago. It has never failed me despite being pushed beyond the reasonable limits of what is essentially a beefed up book bag. (Not saying this bag is somehow inferior to anything on the market. Quite the opposite in fact; I would give it even money against all comers. What I am saying is that the "assault pack" category of bags are essentially overgrown beefed up book bags and we all need to have realistic expectations about what they will do. If you expect them to do what a 4,000 cubic inch bag with a full frame and heavy hip pad will do then disappointment is in your future.]

Like any company I cannot say every product Tactical Tailor makes is for you. I can say they do not skimp on any part of the process from planning useful well thought out gear, buying good material to properly assembling it. My only relationship with them is that over the years I have spend a few hundred dollars on their stuff. The reason I went on this tangent is to A) to mention that I really like this bag, B) point out the benefits of buying quality gear and C) to recommend a source for said gear I have been very pleased with. End Tangent.]

I have talked about get home bag's before 1, 2, 3and John Mosby chimed in on the topic also. No need to totally retread old ground. Check out the older posts if you have not read them already. Anyway like I said before getting all distracted I have been doing some thinking.

First after a lot of consideration I do not see any reason to spend a bunch of money on a bag that is basically just going to sit in my car. Especially since a very nice bag is usually there anyway. Even if money wasn't an issue it just doesn't make sense. My plan is to put together a nice little get home bag in the used alice pack I bought. I will take the basic packing list from my last one (things get disassembled when you move) and build on it to make a more squared away one. Not a full up 45 pound BOB but a bit more than a running home bag. Not exactly sure how that will crack out but that is a problem for another day.

As to the TT bag I EDC it can use some work also. I am just tossing out ideas here but if it has a personal survival kit,a steel water bottle and cup, an IFAK as well as a bandaid and asprin style boo boo kit, a poncho an all weather blanket (like the good space blankets), say 2k calories in food and a spare pair of socks that would be pretty awesome. If I do it right then most of the bag will still be available for everyday junk AND I will have a nice setup if I need it.  I envision it almost like a light long hunter/ bush craft type style setup.

Really the ideal situation for me (aside from living a charmed life where I do not need this bag at all) would be to transfer whatever everyday minutia and work junk is in my TT bag to the car or whatever and empty the contents of the ALICE bag into my preferred bag. That being said both my EDC bag (albeit as a much smaller system) and the GHB need to be able to stand alone. I do not want to depend on anything in the EDC bag because while it does come with me very often it stays at home sometimes too.

Anyway that is where I am with bags and kits today. As always input is appreciated.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Get Home Bag, Walking and Life Update

I am not sure if it has been mentioned explicitly yet but our time in Europe is almost done. We are very happy to be headed back to the US. Travel and some experiences here have been great but a lot of everyday stuff is a hassle. Also the level of regulations, rules and such here does not mesh with my nature at all. We saw a lot of places and missed some good ones. Particularly we are bummed about not getting to Ireland but that is how things worked out. There is more travel here than we could have done even if time and money were not concerns. In any case it is about time to move on to the next chapter in our lives. We will be spending about a month catching up with folks in the PNW. After that we are headed to the Southwest. More on that later.

We have been walking a lot lately. The weather is good now and it is a solid way to get out of the house and doing something. I do not recommend walking as a form of exercise unless you are A) elderly, B) recovering from a serious injury/ illness, C) crippled or D) seriously overweight and or out of shape and working towards running a la couch to 5k or a similar program. However that does not mean walking is not without benefits. Most of the benefits are not really physical. Getting outside and spending time with your family in the area you live in is a good thing. If somebody told me they walk as a form of exercise who did not fit the above categories I would try to coach them towards a better path, potentially with some mocking involved. If somebody told me they walk regularly to get outside and for active recovery from more strenuous workouts like running or rucking or for some additional low impact/ intensity cardio I would say that was a great plan.

My get home bag setup needs some work. The primary issue is that I really like my Tactical Tailor bag and use it regularly. I like that bag for the task but it can't be in two places at once. This makes having it in the car with a variety of stuff loaded into it problematic. I have a couple of ideas. First a couple side pouches to hold 1 quart water bottles will help free up space in the main compartment for normal life stuff. (Regardless of what I do the bag needs this MOD anyway.) Second sooner or later I need to swap out that bag or get a replacement for normal everyday carry use. Something I have considered is putting most of the stuff that is in my GHB into something else like a wet weather bag or trash bag and then putting it into my TT pack if needed. Mostly this stuff is a full set of clothes with boots, socks, gloves and a hat. I keep this stuff in there because regularly I go on short trips in less than fully ideal clothing and the option to change into suitable clothes for walking is a good thing. I mulled this a lot but despite being an easy and ideal solution it came up short because while I carry the TT bag around a lot while using it as a normal bag it doesn't ALWAYS MAKE IT INTO THE CAR. Inevitably the day I needed it is the day it would be in the hall closet. So the question is what to do. The short term answer is pretty much covered. I ordered a used medium ALICE pack awhile back for $10. It will be a very inexpensive solution and such will likely fit for awhile. Not as nice or comfortable but for $10 instead of $150 that is to be expected. Still a rugged bomb proof pack. Down the road a nice high end bag like the TT or something from Hill People Gear would be great in this role but I will not be able to justify the expense for awhile. Likely I  would use the TT for a GHB and something a bit smaller for typical every day type use. Since I don't see any traction on this for at least 6 months or more likely 12 there is some time to think about it.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Week in Preps, Free Downloads, Kits and Other Stuff

I couldn't quite decide what to write today. I didn't want to skip a week in preps/ what did you do to prepare this week but there is other stuff floating around my head also. Anyway you are going to get all sorts of stuff today.

This week I finished up the kit/ bag that I have been working on. That meant buying the last few things like plastic bags and granola bars, digging around closets and storage to find things and just taking the time to get it all put together. We will revisit this later. Also we put some more money into our emergency fund. In the last couple months we have increased it by about 40%. Mostly this was needed for the fund to keep up with our family and life situation.

Today I noticed that John Galt's The Day The Dollar Died blovel is being offered as a free PDF download. I really enjoyed reading it the first time. Being able to read it at my own pace, not all broken up, will be nice. I strongly recommend it. Now onto kits.

So like I said I got done building the kit I have been working on. It started out to be a get home bag. I am not exactly sure what it turned into. Maybe there was a sort of mission creep but it definitely got bigger, heavier and more comprehensive than I planned. While it fit into my Tactical Tailor assault bag it was too heavy for such a bag and carried badly. I put the contents into one of the smallish packs I got from REI awhhile back. What I have is sort of straddling the fence between what I would consider a pretty comprehensive and relatively heavy get home bag and a slightly minimalist bug out bag. It has stuff to purify water, change clothes, sleep in reasonable (spring/summer, winter would need a different module) comfort, treat a variety of injuries and all of that good stuff.

I am not sure if I am thrilled with it or unhappy. In any case it definitely did not fit the intended purpose. If I commuted 50 miles one way to work every day it would probably live in my vehicle. However I do not do that. I do like the setup but am not entirely sure what I will do with it. Maybe it will stay the same or change or get parted out. For the time being it will be my bugout bag. Down the road I think it might get slightly tweeked and become Wifey's bag.

After putting that bag together and realizing the problem we just talked about I immediately set out to making the sort of get home bag that I actually need. So I put together a pretty light get home bag.  One that fits my life. I was determined not to let it suffer from any sort of creep. Basically I took my TT assault pack, tossed in a pair of boots, socks, some water and a bunch of various bars to munch on.  Of course the usual suspects like a knife, compass, fire making stuff, etc are present. Much more geared toward a 25 mile walk than a multi day treck.

Thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.

I may get around to doing posts on these. However I want to mull recent developments and maybe fill some gaps first. It might be awhile as I am lazy when it comes to that sort of posts.

Gas prices are down some here. About 30 cents from the high if memory serves me correctly. I noticed that gold shot up a bit recently but silver is still well under $30 which is a pretty good deal. It may stay there and may not, I can't say.

Anyway that is about all I have for now. Hope Monday wasn't too painful for anybody.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Product Review: Vickers Padded Sling

Today I am going to be talking about the Vickers Padded Sling I recently ordered. Today I had the opportunity to put it on a rifle and use it for awhile. Also the day started real early and ended real late so a kinda short post is in order.

The Good: I was initially impressed about how heavy, thick and stuff the webbing on this sling was. It makes my Tactical Tailor slings seem thin and flimsy. Today I put it on and found that it was quick and easy. I got this sling because it is padded and that helps (or at least spreads out the weight) when carrying a weapon for hours. Also I thought the quick adjustment idea was pretty cool. The sling has both more permenant (well not permenant but you would have to take off the rifle, sit down and mess with them) adjustments on both sides of the padded part as well as the quick adjust. I theoretically liked the quick adjust idea, especially going from wearing body armor to not wearing it and changing into heavy winter clothes, etc. My observation is that with a fairly fixed sling I was regularly wishing it was a couple inches longer or shorter, for whatever of the above reasons.

I put the sling on today and used it for awhile. I was quite impressed with it. Also the great forethought of the adjustments helped immensely. Most padded slings have the pad way too far toward the center to be useful when carrying in the low ready. I took a minute and choked up the back adjustment and let a bit out of the front one and it rested right across my shoulder, neck and upper back where it is needed.

The tab adjustment for the quick adjust is something I was really skeptical about. I was very pleasantly suprised. You just grab the tab and pull it the way you want it to go and the sling stays there till you pull the tab again. Can't say why it works but it does. I set it up so that my normal sling length is right in the middle of the quick adjust. This gives me some play in both directions.

I really enjoy this sling.

The Bad: They are expensive. Costing a nickel under $60 before shipping this isn't a sling that most people would buy lightly. To be honest the only reason I got one is because I have tried all sorts of ghetto rigged two point slings and just haven't been really happy with them. Also I carry a rifle a lot so getting a tough, well thought out quality piece of kit is worth it for me. [Sort of like how it is worth it for a professional carpenter to spend quite a few bucks on a hammer or a tool belt where it isn't for an average guy. Someone who frames 25 homes a year has very different needs in terms of comfort, ergonomics and ruggedness than a guy whose big effort is helping on a deck or an addition each summer.]

I definitely don't plan to order a bunch of these. They are cost prohibitive to say the least. I got one for work because if spending a few bucks makes my life easier and more comfortable I will do it. At some point I will order one for my go rifle too.

No Ugly.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Kit

I wrote about chest rigs awhile back. That post got me thinking and then acting on something I had been wanting to do for some time. I use a standard issue MOLLE FLC. Money isn't an object I just like these a lot as a platform. I don't like conventional chest rigs for a couple reasons. The first reason is that unlike a conventional chest rig (they are generally a 6 inch or so panel with 2-3 rows of the modular strapping stuff) with these you can attach stuff basically anywhere on the front of your torso. Secondly in my experience chest rigs have all kinds of straps all over the place and getting them comfortable is pretty hard. Makes adjusting a shoulder holster seem easy. Also I like that the load is evenly distributed widely over your shoulders instead of on a 1 1/4 inch area.

However the FLC as issued has a serious flaw. In the back there is this big stupid strap in the back. You can rotate the biog dumb belt thing all the way around so there are just straps in the back. However doing that has the cost of not being able to open the FLC in the front. That wouldn't be a big issue except for the fact that we wear body armor. It is awful darn convenient to be able to put your FLC on and off with the IBA instead of having an extra step of pulling it over your head every single time. The picture below shows what I am talking about. (Yeah by the looks it is some Marine guys stuff but it's the first good picture which clearly shows what I was looking to show.)

Seriously the FLC is like we had a great idea and then somebody said it had to have a huge stupid thing going around the back. I think it was some old guy who just couldn't deal with the kit not being based around a big belt thing. I have tried the FLC as a rack/ chest rig with the big stupid pad rotated to the front and in its conventional way and found both setups to be wanting. Basically I prefer the FLC over a chest rig but I want it to not have the big stupid belt thing in the back and also be able to open in the front. Yeah I like to have my cake and eat it too.

So I had an idea. My idea was to replace the big stupid belt thing. You need to secure the back so it doesn't go flopping all over the place when you lean over or whatever so just having it open isn't an option. I considered a piece of 550 cord but decided against it because the Army is really anal about this stuff so it needs to look legit. Another consideration on my options was that if God forbid I am seriously injured and somebody grabs that strap to drag me I need the darn thing to hold. In full kit I probably weigh 230lbs and if you factor in momentum and someone pulling on a single point that requires a strong strap. I settled on simple 1 1/4 inch webbing with a buckle in the middle. There are hooks for webbing on the FLC right by the middle of the front (where the zipper is) so you hook it through them and it is attached. The webbing on the FLC's stupid belt thing is the same size so it is too easy. I then sat on the idea for some time.

The day I wrote the blog I decided to just do it and put my kit into the configuration I wanted. Since we are in Germany I ended up having to scavenge the webbing. I had a Tactical Tailor chest rig I never really got comfortable with sitting around and decided to scavenge from it. Unfortunately that meant  cutting straps but I left enough on the side I had to cut from (it went to a clip on the other side) that I can later just get some more webbing and hook it together with a buckle. Anyway I got it done and though I haven't used it much yet am quite happy with the results. 

As worn.

Left side has 4 double mag pouches. They can hold 8 M4 (or I guess others of comparable size) mags or 6 mags and a pistol or NVG monocle or whatever. Figure another in the rifle and possible on the butt stock and I am able to carry 270-300 rounds. Can't see carrying more on my kit though if need be I would bring a bandoleer or something.

Right side from center; medical pouch, radio pouch, 1 quart canteen pouch to hold night vision goggles with the Rino mount and J arm, on the top is a compass. The only addition I intend to make is a small random pouch to hold little stuff. Most likely my compass will move down between the radio pouch and the NVG pouch and said small random pouch will go where the compass pouch is. I carry water in a camelback and sometimes stuff a couple granola bars or whatever in a random pocket. This setup is sufficient for operations of at least several hours. If I was going out dismounted for longer it would require more water, more than a couple chewy bars and probably some sort of sleeping gear. In that case an assault pack with a 2 quart canteen or two would come along.

Well that is what I carry.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Chest Rigs

Our buddy Rourke from Modern Survival Online asked about my preference in chest rigs some time ago. Not entirely sure why but it took me some time to getting around to writing this. I wear this sort of stuff a lot and spend most of my working hours around other people who wear it also. So in addition to my own preferences I can talk about what other people seem to like.

First I want to talk about a couple companies that make great stuff. I bear no interest in them other than being a satisfied customer. I love Tactical Tailor gear. They just make great stuff. Lots of folks use Blackhawk stuff. I certainly do not mean to imply that nobody else makes nice stuff as I am sure they do. It is just that I see a lot of these two brands.

There are a few features I like in a chest rig:
1. Minimalist. Particularly having a low profile on the back and shoulders so not to interfere with a backpack.
2. Modular. MOLLE webbing gives you oodles of options to customize exactly what you want. For instance a young man whose position changes from Automatic Rifleman to Rifleman or Grenadier can change a couple pouches and be ready to go with a modular system. If he had a system that was not modular at all (like those "tactical vests" where the pouches are attached) or was less modular like the old LBE system it would be more of a pain. Even if you know the exact setup you want and don't plan to change anything sometimes after putting it all together you find that the mag pouches need to go an inch to the left or right.
3. Rugged. Even if your life is nothing like mine and this chest rig will just sit in the closet and go to the range bi monthly quality matters. The stuff has to be able to take a beating as its intended use is rather rough. My advice is to suck it up and buy quality once. Obviously having your mags and other essential stuff in a crap made Chinese vest that falls apart during a mission would be a real problem.The only reason you will need to replace a Tactical Tailor or Blackhawk setup is if you lose it.
4. Comfortable. You might scoff at this but we wear our gear for days on end. A friction point that bothers a normal guy at the range a little bit can turn into a bleeding sore on a long road march or mission.
5. Secure. Stuff you put in the pouches needs to stay in the pouches until you take it out. It needs to stay in place if you are crawling or running through thick brush. If you can't take a loaded chest rig and shake it upside down then toss it off the back of a truck and drag it around by one strap and keep everything then it is best to move on.
6. Compact. It needs to securely hold all the stuff you need and not be bulky or too thick. You don't want to be walking around like a commando Micheline Man getting stuck in vehicles, doorways and windows.
7. Allow maximum freedom of movement. You need to be able to run, crawl, climb and generally do stuff while wearing gear. Also you need to be able to shoulder a weapon on both shoulders.

Where and how to store mags in an interesting question. There are numerous types of mag pouches but they can be basically broken down into single or multiple mag and open top or flap. The ones with a flap generally hold 2-3 magazines. This is personal preference thing without a "right answer". I would however say that for open flap you need some kind of retention cord or snap. The TT and Blackhawk ones use a cord with a little thing to grab onto. The issue ones have a snap. Some companies have make mags that have open tops and some sort of friction device for retention like these pouches from Blue Force Gear. I have some real concerns with this kind of pouches. Maybe this type (not to pick on Blue Force Gear or this pouch. They seem like nice people who make good stuff. I just have no experience with this pouch of their products in general.) works great but I am not willing to take the risk of them failing. YMMV.

Personally I like to keep all my mags in one spot slightly off center towards my non dominant side. Roughly between my belly button and kidney. Some folks keep them right in the center. Others have them all the way around and attach their other pouches (medical, miscellaneous, compass, etc) to the outside webbing. Blackhawk makes an interesting chest rig with integral open top mag pouches that some folks seem to really like.

If possible I suggest trying on and fiddling with all kinds of stuff in order to figure out what YOU LIKE before going out and spending the money.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Worth The Money

Sometimes you can pay a lot more for an item with comparable utility, reliability and such. Also there is a question of whether the difference in cost is worth it. For example a Glock costs somewhere around $450-500 depending on where you are and an HK is around $800. Is an HW almost twice the semi automatic pistol as a Glock? Personally I do not think so. However some stuff is just worth it.

For me durability and ruggedness are probably the biggest two things that make stuff worth the money for me. Getting a years rough use out of something is fine but if you get 5 or 10 years that is sure something.

One piece of kit I have been incredibly thrilled with is my Tactical Tailor back pack. I think it cost around $100 but that was several years ago. The thing has done all sorts of tough work for years and has consistently impressed me with its design and sheer ruggedness. Also polar tech sink weigh underoos are amazing. I am given them but if I wasn't I would gladly pay the price.

What has been worth the money to you?
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